The New Uncanny: An Overall Opinion

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            I found The New Uncanny to be an interesting read, and a creative way to show an audience some of Freud’s ideology(s) without giving a straightforward psychological analysis. Personally, I think that since I haven’t read a lot about Freud, that this was a good way for me to jump into it and get a variety of interpretations on his approach to understanding the mind, and how it works.  Now I have yet to read The Uncanny article, but I honestly feel a little bit better about it, now that I have started to ease my way into his theories.  For the most part, I really enjoyed a lot of the stories, and I thought that the writers did an admirable job of sticking to the causes of fear that Freud explains in the introduction of the book: inanimate objects mistaken as animate, animate beings behaving as if inanimate or mechanical, being blinded, the double, coincidences or repetitions, being buried alive, some all-controlling evil genius, and confusions between reality and imagination. With that said, I wanted to talk a little about some of my favorite stories and explain why I thought that they reached out to me, and touched me the most.

From when I first started reading the “Double Room” I knew that I was really going to like it. I love the alter ego/ conscious trip that writers tend to take their protagonists through, and I think that these types of stories always have a good underlying sense of mortality to them in the end. I personally liked that Ferguson had the feeling of being “trapped in an infantile game by someone who’d succumbed to their second childhood, if not worse (14).”  If he knocked on the wall, someone knocked back, or if he said something, almost the same exact words were rehearsed back to him.  It was a really wild, yet effective way to show how someone’s inner battle with themselves can be revealed to them through their conscience.   Perhaps even though he tries to convince himself that he didn’t want her to die…deep down inside, he really did.  Now he’s paying for it, and he’s not the one in control anymore.

My second favorite story was probably “The Underhouse,” because it reminded me a lot of surrealist art, and the theories and speculation behind it.  Surrealism delves into the deepest parts of one’s thoughts and nightmares, and then shows them through an unconscious stream of consciousness; it’s actually rather quite sublime in my opinion, because we are both terrified by it and overwhelmed by it at the same time. When I was reading it, the first thought that came to my mind was wow- this reminds me a lot of Alice in Wonderland when she is falling down the hole, trying to catch the rabbit.  I feel that the whole idea of the double and a perfect replication is quite frightening to me because it’s hard to imagine a world where there is no individuality left.  Don’t get me wrong, I think the protagonist played a great prank on his friends, but to him…it wasn’t really a prank as it might have been to us.  This was his world, and he wanted to see how people were going to react to it.  I got the feeling that he was conducting this crazy experiment and then having people come in and test their reactions.  It’s very brilliant, and it raises a lot of questions as to by doubling something (even if it comes down to your living room) are you trying to play God?  I say this because eventually, the person is going to get sick of replicating rooms, and want to try something else….

The last story I wanted to comment on was “Doll’s Eyes” frankly because I can relate to the notion of being afraid of dolls (I mean it took me a while to get over Chucky when I was younger, and now there is this whole porcelain doll thing…eh). Overall, I thought the story had great structure and organization, and because of that, as a reader, you almost got to know the dolls, and understand why Felicity thought some of them to be alive. I was very surprised by the conflict in the story, because I did not expect Carole to turn on Felicity on in the end, and try to sell the doll, but I must say her fate was well deserved.  On that note, the foreshadowing was done especially well on two levels.  One, it foreshadowed Carole’s blindness at the end, and secondly, it related the dolls to humanity thus giving them some type of power that an inanimate object should not have.  I wouldn’t call this a horror story, but I without a doubt find it to be uncanny, and uneasy.  I know I’ll never look at a doll the same way again.

 Overall, I really enjoyed reading the book, and I’m very interested in reading what my peers have to say when we all go into a deeper analysis on one particular story (which will be coming up in my blog shortly). 


Mike Arnzen said:

Great review, Stephanie. I liked these stories very much as well. Something about "The Underhouse" struck me as quite sinister; I liked the idea of that one the most. Glad you enjoyed the antho.

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